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Advancing the checkpoint environment

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The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) continues to experience record breaking travel volume, and as passenger loads continue to grow, TSA continuously seeks to improve security. Here, Austin Gould, TSA’s Assistant Administrator for Requirements and Capabilities Analysis, discusses how the organisation is looking for innovative ways to address the evolving transportation challenges of today – and prepare for the challenges of tomorrow.

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WITH THE threat to aviation constantly evolving, TSA is focused on developing the next generation of state-of-the-art security technology, which will be used to revolutionise the way airports operate.

Computed Tomography (CT)

CT is the latest checkpoint X-ray scanning equipment to enhance threat detection capabilities for carry-on baggage. The technology is similar to CT technology used in the medical field and research shows that CT is the most consequential technology available today for airport checkpoints. CT technology applies sophisticated algorithms for the detection of explosives and other threats by creating a 3D image that can be viewed and rotated 360 degrees for a thorough analysis. If a bag requires further screening, TSA officers will inspect it to ensure there are no prohibited items inside.

Biometrics

With the rising use of biometrics for identity verification, TSA is evaluating the operational and security impacts of using passengers’ biometrics to verify their identities. Using biometrics will modernise aviation passenger identity verification over the coming years. TSA is actively evaluating facial recognition technology to automate the identity and boarding pass verification process. Facial recognition technology is currently being piloted at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in conjunction with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Automated screening lanes (ASLs)

ASLs enhance security efficiency while decreasing the amount of time travellers spend during the security screening process. The ASLs are designed to improve the screening of passengers by automating many of the functions that were previously performed manually. The advanced screening system allows passengers to move faster and more efficiently through the security checkpoints. The automated conveyor belts draw bins into the X-ray machines and return the bins back to the front of the queue for passengers. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags attached to each bin allow for additional accountability of a passenger’s items as they transit throughout the security process. Cameras capture photographic images of the contents of each bin, which are linked side-by-side to the X-ray image of a bag’s contents. Carry-on bags that trigger an alarm warning of a potential threat are automatically redirected to a separate area to allow bins behind them to continue through the screening process uninterrupted.

Enhanced advanced imaging technology (eAIT)

eAIT is a millimetre wave checkpoint passenger screening technology with enhanced detection capabilities that improve security and may help ease passenger experience. The AIT system has several benefits, but most noticeable to passengers is the relaxed stance, which means that instead of holding their arms over their heads, they can keep them down and close to their sides. The actual scan takes less than a second, and the addition of two screening stations allows those who need additional screening to move to a separate area until they are cleared by a TSA officer.

Credential authentication technology (CAT)

CAT units scan a passenger’s photo identification to verify the authenticity of the document. The system uses information from the photo identification to confirm a passenger’s flight status by cross-referencing it against the Secure Flight database. CAT enhances security by effectively verifying passenger identification to determine whether the documents presented at the checkpoint are authentic, fraudulent or expired, verifying the passenger’s Secure Flight vetting status in near real time. When CAT is in use, the TSA officer will not request the passenger’s boarding pass unless the system is not able to access the individual’s boarding information.

Innovation Task Force (ITF)

As TSA continues to raise the baseline for aviation security, we look to organisations who will help to advance capabilities, introduce new ways of thinking and bring creative solutions to travel challenges. TSA’s ITF was created to bring together key stakeholders to identify and demonstrate emerging technology solutions. ITF demonstrations allow vendors to test their solutions in a live environment, capture operational data and then refine their solution for potential future engagement with TSA.

Advancing the checkpoint environment (ACE)

ACE is a new, live checkpoint environment at LAS that serves as a ‘green space’ to assess multiple process and technology enhancements to the checkpoint environment. ACE enables ITF to test an entire network of unique capabilities at the same time without interrupting airport operations, and to assess the impact of innovative solutions on the ecosystem holistically, to ultimately inform requirements for future screening environments across TSA.

In partnership with McCarran International Airport as an ITF demonstration site, TSA can utilise a new checkpoint in Terminal 3 for assessment purposes as an ‘Innovation Checkpoint.’ This will showcase unique opportunities to modify and define the future aviation security process – beginning with ACE.

The ACE mission is to provide an environment that allows for the concurrent assessment of new technology and processes, enabling data-driven decision making.

ACE will accelerate learning, refine capabilities and gather requirements to better position TSA to make security decisions. ITF will share data with vendors to enable continuous refinement of their capabilities and share lessons learned to directly inform requirements generation for capabilities of interest to TSA.

ITF will also leverage the ACE checkpoint environment to assess strategies and process improvements to enhance the TSA officer experience.

Protecting the future

TSA is building a culture of innovation that anticipates and rapidly counters the changing threats across the transportation system. By establishing and promoting mechanisms to foster continuous improvement, TSA is positioned to best anticipate and counter the evolving threat to aviation. 

Source:
https://www.internationalairportreview.com/article/101688/advancing-the-checkpoint-environment/

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Security

Firm introduces new cyberthreat detection service

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Sophos, a global leader in network and endpoint security, has announced the availability of a fully managed threat hunting, detection and response service, called Sophos Managed Threat Response.

The firm said the re-sellable service would provide organisations with a dedicated 24/7 security team to neutralise the most sophisticated and complex threats.

According to a statement, these threats include active attackers leveraging fileless attacks and administrator tools such as PowerShell to escalate privileges, exfiltrate data and spread laterally.

“Attacks like these are difficult to detect since they involve an active adversary using legitimate tools for nefarious purposes, and Sophos MTR helps eliminate this threat,” it said.

The Chief Technology Officer at Sophos, Joe Levy, said cybercriminals were adapting their methods and increasingly launching hybrid attacks that combined automation with interactive human ingenuity to more effectively evade detection.

He said, “Once they gain a foothold, they’ll employ ‘living off the land’ techniques and other deceptive methods requiring human interaction to discover and disrupt their attacks.

“For the most part, other managed detection and response services simply notify customers of potential threats and then leave it up to them to manage things from there.

“Sophos MTR not only augments internal teams with additional threat intelligence, unparalleled product expertise, and round-the-clock coverage, but also gives customers the option of having a highly trained team of response experts take targeted actions on their behalf to neutralise even the most sophisticated threats.”

Source:
https://punchng.com/firm-introduces-new-cyberthreat-detection-service/

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Security

Google now treats iPhones as physical security keys

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The latest update to Google’s Smart Lock app on iOS means you can now use your iPhone as a physical 2FA security key for logging into Google’s first-party services in Chrome. Once it’s set up, attempting to log in to a Google service on, say, a laptop, will generate a push notification on your nearby iPhone. You’ll then need to unlock your Bluetooth-enabled iPhone and tap a button in Google’s app to authenticate before the login process on your laptop completes. The news was first reported by 9to5Google.

Two-factor authentication is one of the most important steps you can take to secure your online accounts, and provides an additional layer of security beyond a standard username and password. Physical security keys are much more secure than the six digit codes that are in common use today, since these codes can be intercepted almost as easily as passwords themselves. Google already lets you use your Android phone as a physical security key, and now that the functionality is available on iOS it means that anyone with a smartphone now owns a security key without having to buy a dedicated device.

Attempting to log in to a Google service will send a push notification to your phone over Bluetooth.

The new process is similar to the existing Google Prompt functionality, but the key difference is that Smart Lock app works over Bluetooth, rather than connecting via the internet. That means your phone will have to be in relatively close proximity to your laptop for the authentication to work, which provides another layer of security. However, the app itself doesn’t ask for any biometric authentication — if your phone is already unlocked then a nearby attacker could theoretically open the app and authenticate the login attempt.

According to one cryptogopher working at Google, the new functionality makes use of the iPhone processor’s Secure Enclave, which is used to securely store the device’s private keys. The feature was first introduced with the iPhone 5S, and Google’s app says that it requires iOS 10 or later to function.

The new iPhone support appears to be limited to authenticating Google logins from the Chrome browser. When we attempted to use an iPhone to authenticate a login of the same service (we tested with Gmail) using Safari on a MacBook, we were prompted to insert our key fob (which we don’t have), meaning it created an extra step in our login process where we had to pick an alternative 2FA option.

Source:
https://www.theverge.com/2020/1/15/21066768/google-iphone-ios-security-key-2-factor-authentication

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Security

Samsung made a fingerprint-secured portable SSD

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Portable SSDs have become quite popular lately but only a handful of them offer proper security so Samsung is taking matters into its own hands by introducing the T7 Touch with fingerprint reader identification. This way you can rest assured that your sensitive data is safe even if you misplace the actual drive.

Samsung made a fingerprint-secured portable SSD

The T7 Touch succeeds the T5 from last year by offering a capacitive fingerprint scanner and AES 256-bit hardware encryption and password for added security. Moreover, the T7 Touch boasts about 1 GB/s read and 1 GB/s read speeds, which is almost twice as fast as its predecessor.

Connectivity options include USB-C to USB-C and USB-C to USB-A while the connector of the device supports 10Gbps speeds over USB 3.2 (Gen 2).

The T7 Touch comes in three flavors – 500GB for $129, 1TB for $229 and 2TB for $399 with planned availability this month. The available paint jobs of the titanium case are black and silver and the whole thing weighs just 58 grams.

Source:
https://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_made_a_fingerprintsecured_portable_ssd-news-40949.php

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